Why Is South Africa Scrapping Isolation For Asymptomatic COVID Patients?

The South African government has announced they would no longer require people who test positive for COVID-19 without symptoms to isolate, based on the trajectory of the pandemic and levels of vaccination in the country,

According to a statement issued by Mondli Gungubele, a minister in the presidency, Isolation for patients who exhibit symptoms have also been reduced by three days, seeing as the country is safely easing out of the fifth wave of the pandemic.

“The rationale for these amendments is informed by the proportion of people with immunity to COVID-19 which has risen substantially, exceeding 60-80% in several serosurveys,” Gungubele’s statement read.

“The information gathered through the system used by the Department of Health has reported that South Africa has exited the fourth wave nationally.”

Recent data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), showed 1,366 new COVID cases in the last 24 hours and 71 deaths, 14 of which occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours.

The new amendments mean that people who test positive with symptoms will now isolate for seven days instead of 10 days, while contacts do not have to isolate unless they develop symptoms.

With over 3.6 million infections and 95,093 deaths, South Africa is considered the worst-hit country in Africa, with the latest wave of infections driven by the Omicron variant.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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